It doesn’t seem that long ago that I reviewed Joe McCorriston’s 4-track EP, Pre-drinks, (actually it was last April so that is quite a while ago) and now he’s back with a full length album called The Party We Came For. The album was released in December so you can download and stream it right now from Bandcamp (or Spotify), but first, here’s my review.
The first two songs on the album are two tracks that featured on the aforementioned EP. On one hand, it’s a shame that of 10 songs on The Party We Came For I have heard 2 of them before. But on the other hand, they are good songs! The album opener is called Alive and it probably is one of the best songs on the album. It’s an empowering yet deadly catchy song about simply wanting to live your life without worry about what other people might think. C’est La Vie, Pt. 2 is the other song that featured previously on Pre-Drinks and is second on the album. It’s a little slower and more bitter lyrically than Alive but is packed full of emotion.
The third song on The Party We Came For is called Cardboard Is Heavy Sometimes. It’s a fairly raw-sounding song which works with the lyrical content. The opening lines – ‘Something is bothering me, And I can’t seem to find the guts to tell you, Or tell the world, Tell anybody.’ – sets a bit of a negative feel to the song but the tempo feels otherwise. The next track, Castle Hill, is a slow-paced and heartfelt track, featuring predominantly acoustic guitar but also some harmonica – always a nice touch – and, I think, piano. It’s these musical elements that really stand out to me in the song.
Stomach Lining kicks off with a nice little bit of swinging guitar playing (you might have to hear it to know what I mean). This steady rhythm continues throughout the song and is a contrast with the lyrics – yep, you guess it, they’re not quite so cheery. ‘I know the taste, I know the smell, I know it makes me sick, I don’t want to die.’ I’m a great appreciator of when a songwriter can take their honest and/or pretty pessimistic lyrics and set them against more positive-sounding music – it shows that they know that it can and will get better. Following on from Stomach Lining is a song called Destiny and is about being stuck in a rut and the same routine when you know you have to change your ways. ‘He sits at home on Destiny, While his girlfriend cooks his tea, He knows there’s only one way this can end, He’s tried to stop but he can’t change.’
It’s Not My Place is a fairly quiet track that features some gentle guitar finger picking. The music backing is lovely but the lyrics and vocals are really quite sad. ‘Oh, what can I say?, To try and make you change your ways. And oh, it’s not my place, So you just hide behind that fate.’ This is definitely one of the most emotive songs on the album. Switching up the tempo and mood completely is Blockbuster Blues. A song that I first thought sounds sort of like Green Day. If Green Day were from the north of England and played DIY folk punk. It’s great and is one of my favourites on the album.
The penultimate song on The Party We Came For is called I Like It Here. Joe sticks with the full band sound of the previous track here with some reasonably loud drums and guitars – for a majorly acoustic-sounding album anyway. I get the sense that the latter half of the album is more hopeful. ‘It may not take much to fall off the edge… But it means we’ll fall with some grace. And probably a smile on your face.’ There’s a bit of a Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls element to this song which is no bad thing for me! Bringing the album to a close is My Own Company, a song about dealing with anxiety and mental health issues. ‘I am sick and I can’t work it out, I loathe myself despite my impressive front.’ Musically the song is fairly simple with confident strummed chords. This allows for the listener’s full focus on the honest lyrics… and thus ends The Party We Came For.